Mexican Nationals Arrested in New Mexico on Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Four Mexican nationals made their initial appearances this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging them with methamphetamine trafficking offenses. All four remain in federal custody pending preliminary hearings and detention hearings which have yet to be scheduled.
Jobel Irai Fontes-Nieto, 29, Antonio Ignacio Villa-Garcia, 30, Jesus Manuel Rodela-Castillo, 22, and Manuel Carreon-Chavira, 25, all of Chihuahua, Mexico, were arrested on Feb. 5, 2016, in Sunland Park, N.M., after law enforcement agents recovered five sealed bundles containing approximately 5.46 pounds of methamphetamine from the four men during an undercover operation.
If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, all four defendants face a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years and maximum of life in federal prison and will be deported following their incarceration. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Balla and Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.
The HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, HSI and the New Mexico State Police. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.